Barcelona dances, 2026 | Catalonia

Capture of promotional video of Barcelona’s candidacy as the headquarters of the world capital of architecture.

It seems that it is already inevitable. Barcelona, ​​at the proposal of the International Union of Architects (UIA) in its last meeting, and with the support of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, the Generalitat of Catalonia, the Barcelona City Council, the Superior Council of the Colleges of Architects of Spain and the College of Architects of Catalonia (COAC), will be the world capital of architecture within five years. Although we do not know very well what such a thing can do, it will inevitably happen. It remains to be seen what these institutions agree on and which of them sponsors the event. One of the pieces of the presentation of the candidacy was a video about Barcelona with the title One today, one tomorrow [un día, un mañana] and that we have to think that it has played an important role in achieving it. The video gives us the opportunity to get a glimpse of the vision that the UIA, the COAC, and the rest of the institutions have, of the values ​​of this city and its citizens, and also, of course, of the architecture and particularly of the architecture of Barcelona.

We believed that the attempts to involve citizens in these types of “challenges” were history, something from the Olympic past of this city, but the video, the candidacy and the achievement, flatly deny it. The form of the video, the fragmented presentation of advertising sequences and the dancers dancing in front of emblematic buildings, make this spot in a substitute of dubious quality compared to Font Vella, Coca Cola, or Alain Afflelou, on television. Despite wanting to present some features of current reality, the video basically distills the exaltation of the singular and the exceptional, through a sum of frames of iconic buildings, which those of us who think of architecture as useful and beautiful generally abhor. . Buildings and situations that are responsible for a vision of the city that, although real —as they exist—, is sweetened and false as a whole. With the guardianship of these buildings, the dancers move around using them as a scenery. There is no finesse. When George Perec rehearsed a portrait of public space in 1975 in his Attempt to exhaust a Parisian place, writing not about buildings, but about people busy with their daily chores, by means of telegraphic notes he showed that there is already enough sensitivity in how someone Get off the bus or carry a box of sweets, there no one dances attracted attention, only the pigeons seem to do it when they take flight in front of the Saint Sulpice. We should look for the architecture of a city in movies, documentaries or news. In them, architecture is in the background: it is a background, the stage for life, and not a spot in line with those who affirm and think of Barcelona as a brand.

The beauty of a city is not only a matter of its architecture, it is the result of a harmonious combination of people, trees, buildings, birds and vehicles, without the main protagonists. We must look for beauty in everyday life, which does not need dancing or music, the sound of the city is enough. To promote the opposite, as this vulgar video does, is to pursue an idea of ​​a city-expo, a city full of exceptions and permanently on Sunday — as tourists live it precisely. Now in the Berlanga centenary, we cannot avoid the comparison between Welcome Mr. Marshall and this video and its argument. The inhabitants of Villar del Río also wanted to “get the prize” by transforming the town and themselves into a flamenco scene. In the end, the Americans passed by, and the voice in off Fernando Rey explained the disappointment and consoled us all. Here, if we don’t remedy it, no one will comfort us.

There is also something worrying behind the portrait that the video makes of this city and its architecture. They are the evaluators of this type of candidacy, which in this case we could consider symmetrical to the video. It is out of the question that today there are many cities with undeniable values ​​and with pieces of architecture that have helped to give them character, so Barcelona is not unique in this regard. All the challenges that the Catalan capital has today are faced by many cities and many are very committed to achieving them. We do not mistakenly believe ourselves to be unique, let us seek excellence, but not this type of exceptionality. If those who evaluate us have seen in the video something so positive as to reward the candidacy, we should be seriously concerned about the cliché to which we have been reduced. It would be nice to think that we have five years to change this cliche.


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